I feel like I am drowning at work and I can't manage all my tasks. They just keep piling on more things to do?

I was employed to handle all the surveys and inspections of all the machines, pipes and things like that in the factory. I organize inspections with a third party and make sure the part passes the inspection and handle all the administrative work. But almost since day one they started piling on a bunch of projects, I have 9 consultants to oversee and a hundred other things to do. I come to work between 5-6am and stay until 7-8pm. I have told my manager and his manager several times I need help and relief, but they just brush me off. I talked to my brother, who is older and also and engineer. He said:

"I am guessing that your job is not technically complicated. So they found a young, naive fool, right out of school who doesn't know how to properly stand his ground. What you need to do is sit down with your manager and tell him to prioritize for you. Explain to him what tasks you have this week, how many hours they take and let him choose what you should do. You work 40-45 hours/week. Sooner or later they'll either hire someone to relieve you or spread out your tasks"

I've tried doing that, but they don't listen to me. They just keep giving me these projects that have nothing to do with the original job description. How do I handle this?

11 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    It is your manager’s job to set you up for SUCCESS not failure.  It sounds as though your function is integral to the operation and profitability of the company so unless something nefarious is afoot upper management should take your concerns more seriously.  

    Assuming they don’t WANT you to fail so they can use you as a fall guy here are a few suggestions:

    1) Quantify the problem and appeal to their bottom line

    Simply saying that you are overworked sounds like complaining and smells like ungratefulness.   

    SHOW them how with assistance YOU can MANAGE the inspections more efficiently, increase their profitability, and reduce loss due to  failed inspections, downtime, etc.

    For example, if machine X and Y pass inspection faster the company will save this dollar amount.  If you can quantify possible gains in dollar figures and include this in a report it will get their attention.

    2) Ask for feedback

    Again, for upper management to be unaware of your situation doesn’t reflect very well on your company.  However, they might be green or experiencing personal issues, etc.  Whatever the case, it is clear that you must take ownership of your success.  Ask your manager for feedback concerning your productivity and the quality of your work.  If they didn’t make it clear how you would be evaluated when you were employed then NOW is the time for them to provide that criteria.

    3) Make an honest self assessment

    If the company doesn’t have any real system for evaluating employee performance or for addressing employee concerns it may be time to start looking for another job.

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  • Carmen
    Lv 4
    3 weeks ago

    Handle it prayerfully so you don’t give them a reason they probably looking for already to let you go especially since they obviously don’t care or showing no natural affection but if they are not giving you more money with these extra duties you might need to think about changing jobs for your benefits they are definitely over working you and under paying you. 

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  • 3 weeks ago

    You don't ask your boss to prioritize the tasks for you.  That's YOUR job.  It's the same with the paralegal industry.  The work piles up and it goes down as we get things done, as they start to pile up again.  If the pile or piles did not increase, we would be out of a job when we brought the piles down to nothing.  So stop complaining - you have a job.  Do your OWN prioritization.  I have done it for decades.  Low priority goes at the bottom of the pile or piles.  Pile 1 is high priority - important stuff and stuff that will take just a matter of minutes to complete.  Your boss already knows or should know what work he has given you to do.  Just get to it and don't sweat the small stuff.  If he wants 5 or 6 projects done that day and you only have time for 2 or 3 in the time left, ask him which ones he would like completed that day because all 5 or 6 seem to be of high priority.

    Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience.
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  • Ann
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Perhaps the issue is how you are prioritizing your tasks and organizing your data. I have worked with many people who are horribly busy all day but by not utilizing resources at hand, they spend 4 hours on something that could have been done in 1.

    As far as additional work, that happens to all of us. How do you know what is up for inspection>? how do you maintain your list of qualified vendors, Perhaps something as simple as an Excel or Access file could hold all of the info, and cut back on the work you are doing manually. Take a course on your own if you do not have advanced skills in these areas, you could basically automate much of the process and free up a lot of time.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Did the person who did your job prior to you handle all of it alone? Are you being paid for overtime hours or are you salaried? If this is something that the prior employee was able to handle in 40 hours you may want to start looking for another job.. If you are a salaried rather than hourly employee & don't get overtime you may want to start looking. Your brother is correct about talking with the manager but since they don't seem to understand or care, it may be time.

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  • Eva
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    As long as you work the extra hours to get all the projects done, they won't change. Go into work at your scheduled time, do the work as prioritized by your boss, and leave no later than an hour past your scheduled time. When they ask why something wasn't done, simply tell them that there wasn't time and you focused on the most important tasks. You may have to do this several times until they take the hint.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    You accepted a very dull, mundane job that doesn't even sound like you need to be an engineer to do it. 

    But instead right out of school you are given all these great opportunities, including the ability to manage a team of consultants.  WOW!  That's fantastic!! 

    You can either take your brother's advice (which might be based on some jealously that you are getting this opportunity so early in your career) or you can go find another job. 

    What I wouldn't do is tell anyone you can't figure out priorities.  But you do need to create them (not tell someone else to create it for you). 

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  • n2mama
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    First you recognize that the original job description likely included something about “other tasks as directed”, and realize that if you are told to do something by your boss unless it is illegal or unethical, you need to do it. Second, telling your manager that you need him to prioritize your work for you is pretty much asking to be put on a performance review plan. There is nothing wrong with having a discussion with your manager about your workload and task management, but how you approach that conversation matters a lot. Despite what your brother seems to think, you are NOT in a position of power here, and trying to dictates the hours you will work or the tasks you will complete could get you replaced. You don’t want to be viewed as the demanding, difficult to work with diva of an employee.

    You don’t say how long you’ve been working there, so it’s possible that your manager and his manager expect you to get more competent over time, which is why they ignore your complaints of being overwhelmed and needing help. Or maybe you should be looking for a new job. This one might not be the right fit for you.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    I've been there.  Your brother gave excellent advice.  Stick with that.  The only thing I would add is to make sure that you are keeping some kind of tracking report or journal that documents what tasks have been assigned, which ones you got to and which ones you didn't.  Ideally you would be able to have some kind of recurring meeting with your manager to go over your report and for him to help you prioritize.  If not, tell him that you will prioritize your tasks yourself and email him your report regularly so that he can stay informed if he wishes.  

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  • DEBS
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Why beat a dead horse? Get your resume up to date and start looking. Cut back your hours to make sure you have time to do so. Your manager is either stupid or doesn't care.

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